Chapter 5

So he was alone again. Great! And he'd slept with his childhood friend's wife. Oops. If only he was the sort of person who could laugh it off like that, but for him it was a lot to take on board. He made himself think back to before it all began - that's to say before the failed robbery. He was acutely aware of the consequences of an overloaded mind. He needed to avoid wondering if the burglary was set up by Magda who had also sent a South African man to follow him and paid a French girl to seduce him. That was the enemy within, but it could sometimes be just as dangerous as the outside world.

O.K. so back. Back to a time when life was relatively simple. Although it was never all that simple after he met Ollie. One particular day stood out. He'd cycled down to the harbour as usual. It must have been the Whit holiday. The usually placid Ollie was excited. 'There's a band on tonight,' he began. 'One of Kazzie's brothers is the singer. It's in Exeter. They're called "Chaos"'. 'Funny name,' said Dan. 'Well, yeah, but even if they're called "The Bad Oranges" we're still going.' 'How?' asked the ever practical Dan. 'Well, there's only one way. There's no late bus. We'll have to go by bike. The taxi firm won't take us, I've asked.' So even Ollie couldn't persuade the taxi drivers to transport a couple of twelve year old kids. 'You haven't got a bike.' Dan objected. 'Not yet I haven't,' countered Ollie as he took money from the drawer. They bought a Raleigh Ace at a shop round the corner. 'Lets try it out now.' Dan was enthusiastic. 'Oh I can't ride,' Ollie announced calmly. They wheeled it to a nearby car park and Ollie, who turned out to be quite a quick learner in this regard could stay upright by about 5pm. 'What if Kazzie sees us?' Dan suddenly thought the whole plan might be in jeopardy. Ollie reassured him. 'She's away this weekend.' They went home and made a sandwich. Magda was nowhere to be seen so they set off at about 6pm. Ollie was still a bit wobbly and not all that safe on the road, but he made up for what he lacked in skill with determination. 'Kazzie says it's in the hall opposite the Globe Hotel. Can you find the Globe Hotel?' Ollie had asked. Dan wasn't even sure he could find Exeter, but he knew if you followed the coast road for a while you got pretty near. At last they came to somewhere very built up and decided to stop a passer-by. It didn't seem wise to say, 'Excuse me, is this Exeter?' So Dan just asked about the Globe Hotel. 'It's up from the station. You can't miss it,' was the cheerful reply. The hill was quite steep. '1st gear.' shouted Dan. So far the ride had been fairly flat, but this slope at the end of the ride was hard going. He could only hope they'd find the hall soon.

They found it and peered in. It was full of people, mostly young men. They were nearly all dressed in black. The hair styles were very varied. He and Ollie stood out rather. 'I'll do the talking,' said Ollie. 'No kids,' said a man at the door. He was evidently both bouncer and ticket salesman. 'I know Mick,' Ollie told him. 'He said we'd be allowed in.' The man hesitated. 'Go on then if you've got the money'. And they slid in, trying not to be noticed. 'How do you know Mick?' asked Dan. 'I don't,' said Ollie evenly. Dan realized he'd got a lot to learn.

Ollie was instantly at home in this wild atmosphere. And it didn't get any less wild as the night wore on. There were crowds of men dancing and some people were climbing onto the stage and diving off. 'It's heavy metal,' Ollie said knowledgeably as if this explained everything. It was certainly very loud. They sat close to the wall. Even Ollie had the sense to keep a low profile, although he did go to the bar and get two glasses of lemonade. 'I knew he wouldn't serve me beer,' he said as he returned. Dan had never really fancied growing up. It always seemed very dull and rather hard work, but just now being a bit older seemed O.K. Despite the smoke, the noise and the odd looking people, tonight had an excitement all of it's own.

They found the bikes where they'd left them and rode off down the hill. Ollie went far too fast for a beginner and nearly fell off a couple of times, but at last they found the coast road - more by luck than judgement - and made their way back. They stopped when they got to the sea and had a rest. It was two in the morning. The tide was in and the rhythm of the sea was eerie in the dark. Dan was exhausted. It was quite chilly and he pulled his jacket round him. 'Not far now,' he said to Ollie, and they climbed back onto their bikes.

It was very late when they got to the narrow road that led to the river. 'Better not make too much noise with the bikes. Mustn't wake Magda,' Ollie was saying. He was being cautious for once. Dan thought he heard a noise - chattering or something. It seemed odd at that time. They turned the corner and were both astonished by the scene that greeted them. There were a large number of people on the beach. They seemed in fact to be outside Ollie's house. There were cameras everywhere, some set up on tripods, some hand-held. Several people had microphones. There were flashing lights everywhere. Dan recognized a few neighbours; they had just come out to watch presumably. Visually it was a lot to take in, but it was the noise that Dan noticed. There was a babble of shouted questions. He could make no sense of it all. For a moment he just stood and stared. Everything seemed unreal. It was the middle of the night for Goodness' sake. And then suddenly he caught sight of Magda in the thick of it. She looked a little bewildered. What on earth was going on? 

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